Voter ID: Thousands tell the government: “Hands off our vote”

Josiah Mortimer, former Head of Communications

Posted on the 3rd September 2021

Over 50,000 people have now signed the Electoral Reform Society’s petition urging ministers to scrap plans to impose mandatory voter ID – amid growing fears that millions of people could be locked out of democracy. Ministers want to rush through this legislation that will ban those without ID from voting, with the bill’s second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday 7th September.

The parliamentary authorities have refused to debate a separate government e-petition on the issue, which has over 100,000 signatures. They say the issue has already been debated. But just how many people know about plans to force everyone to bring ID to vote? We fear it’s frighteningly few. It’s time to sound the alarm.

The plans for mandatory ID are packed inside the recently published Elections Bill, which will stop those without ID from voting, for all Westminster elections, Police and Crime Commissioner votes, and all other elections in England.

More than two million voters lack recognisable photo ID, according to the government’s own figures. That makes this plan the biggest change to the franchise in almost a century.

The proposals could disenfranchise voters on an industrial scale, at a cost of up to £20m per General Election (according to the government’s own stats). While ministers have promised a ‘free’ ID, we’re yet to see the detail. More than 300 separate local councils will be implementing a costly policy that risks politically skewing our elections.

We need to get the petition against this policy signed and shared by as many people as possible by Monday 6th September. Can you spread the word and say #HandsOffOurVote?

The calls to scrap this dangerous ID policy are growing by the day. This petition is a snapshot of the increasing anger from all corners at this undemocratic and unnecessary plan. We have to stand up for the right to vote.

MPs across the spectrum – from the Conservatives’ David Davis to Labour’s Dawn Butler have expressed their opposition to this scheme, and voters are speaking up in large numbers.

It’s vital that all MPs and peers stand up for the right to vote, and challenge this costly legislation head-on.

It represents the biggest threat to voter rights in generations, and will only make our democracy more unequal. Imposing this policy in a pandemic is an expensive distraction that should be called-off before it’s too late.

More and more people are recognising that this policy will make it harder for everyone to vote. Ministers must tackle the real issues in our politics: cleaning up Britain’s broken political funding set-up, bringing in the nine million people who are missing from the electoral roll altogether, and – crucially – reforming Westminster’s one-party-takes-all voting system. Our electoral system is already disastrously unequal as things stand. The last thing we need is an attack on the franchise.

Let’s stand up for democracy.

Thanks for your support.

Sign and share the ERS’ petition against mandatory voter ID.

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